Hard Underbelly  

The official news spot for Hard Underbelly.


Mood: Decent
Music: Marching Band; by Sufjan Stevens

Okay, it took a while, but the Halloween comic is finally up. I think there was a major server hiccup at Keenspace, 'cause when I started trying to manually update the page, there were a good 3500+ people in line waiting to get it done. So I was definately not the only one.

I'm doing an impromptu movie marathon for Halloween. I just finished watching Fulltime Killer, which is a very interesting movie. Fans of Hong Kong action will definately like it. What's really interesting is that for a movie made in Hong Kong, they mostly speak Japanese throughout, with smatterings of English and Chinese. Next I think I'll watch the Invader Zim Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom, then, to finish off, Donnie Darko. Then I will call it a night. But first, I'm gonna go make some mac 'n' cheese.

Ending Music: Niagara Falls; by Sufjan Stevens

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  posted by Tristan @ 7:38 PM

Friday, October 31, 2003  


As much as I would like for today's comic to be up, for it is halloweeny, Keenspace's servers won't let me in. Whether this is symptomatic of a problem with Keenspace in general or some kind of retaliation for my previous post, in which I ripped some parts of Keenspace a new one, has yet to be seen.

If it's just a problem with Keenspace's servers, it saddens me. Keenspace provides a much needed service that is harder to come by these days, and it pains me to see it having such difficulties.

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  posted by Tristan @ 8:23 AM


Mood: Horrified
Music: Miserable; by Lit

Before I start ragging on Keenspace comics, I think I should say a few things. One, I am a Keenspacer. I use Keenspace to bring Hard Underbelly to the web. I find their auto-archiving tool very useful. That being said, Keenspace still pisses me off. I understand that Keenspace is free, and that the people bringing it out aren’t really making money off of us, not counting whatever pittance they get from advertising. But they’ve proven they don’t give a shit about us. For instance, as I’m typing this, I’m trying to access the forums so I can get at some of the really bad comics. I can’t go through the comics index, because, for some reason, my browser just freezes up when I try to access it. I’m actually kind of grateful. If I was a web browser, I’d do my best to avoid the majority of Keenspace as well. Anyway, the Keenspace forums have been broken on and off for a few months now, which is one of the main reasons that Hard Underbelly’s forums are hosted elsewhere. In theory, Keenspace has a newsbox that anyone can sign up for, but it’s been broken for as long as I’ve been a member of Keenspace. Which is pretty much most of this year. I originally was going to do a different comic on Keenspace called the Betterman, but Keenspace never created my account, which I tried to sign up for in, what was it, February? Fortunately I had an older account called Hard Underbelly that I never used, so I just went ahead with it instead. The page on how to use Keenspace’s metatags, which govern the auto-updating and such, has been broken for as long as I’ve been a member. When Keenspace changed servers a few months ago, half of it’s members’ passwords were suddenly changed, and they were locked out of their own comics. Keenspace’s Yahoo group hasn’t been updated since April. What I’m trying to say is, even for a free service, Keenspace is criminally lax in taking care of it’s members.

But we’re not here to gripe about Keenspace, as much as it is, we’re here to gripe about the crappy comics that clutter it’s servers like a cancerous prostate.

We’ll start our tour of the absurd with comics that take copyrighted material and blatantly rip it off. The sad thing is, these people usually choose something that was pretty bad to begin with to plagiarize.

First in this category we have Dragonball TM. The TM kind of confuses me. This guy clearly knows he’s just ripping something off. And, for some reason, all of his people have a line drawn vertically through their faces. Anyway, he claims it’s a parody, but I don’t really see it. Maybe if I were more familiar with the source material I would see the subtle, hidden satire, but I’m not picking up on it yet. Also, as far as I can tell, the current comic is exactly the same as the first comic. The comics change in between, and he’s been doing this since *shudder* May of 2002, but the first and current comic are almost virtually identical. Maybe it’s some kind of in-joke.

Our next abomination is Pokemon Orange/Pokemon Purple. Not only is it a comic based on Pokemon, but it’s a sprite comic. It’s also got “shoujo-ai”, which a google search tells me is basically lesbian fanfic. And it’s done with sprites. And it also thinks it’s a serious comic. Excuse me, but if you’re using sprites to tell your story, I think it’s time you admit that you can’t really do a serious plot. Especially if you break the fourth wall almost every comic. One reason I don’t ever break the fourth wall in Hard Underbelly is because it would make it impossible to take a comic seriously. Once your characters wink at the camera, you can no longer expect anyone to believe it.

Next we have the simply named Final Fantasy Comic. There’s not much to say about this comic except, WHY!?! At some point the ‘author’, ‘Maxrpg’ thought to him or herself, “Hey, what if I took sprites from the older FF games and made a painfully unfunny three panel comic out of it? And what if I did it really poorly, so that sometimes in little patches you could see through the sprite to the background? Yeah, that’d be a worthwhile use of my time.”

Next up is Final Fantasy Friends, which is just plain painful. It is, honest to god, a comic about Friends being recast with, you guessed it, sprites from Final Fantasy. The person who created this comic seems to openly hate the tv show Friends, and so the comic seems to forget pretty quickly that it has anything to do with the show. Frankly, it comes as a relief. Unfortunately, it’s still a goddamn unfunny FF sprite comic.

I blame 8-bit Theater and Mortisland for these comics. Too many people tried to follow in their footsteps and make something funny wtih sprites, but guess what? They all sucked up the place. Kind of like how half of the webcomics out there are just shameless rip-offs of Penny Arcade.

Crap. The next comic is just plain crappy.

Here we have Boy of 9, which seems to think it has a serious plot, despite the fact that the writing is barely understandable and it’s drawn entirely in MSPaint.

Sex. We all know that sex is out there, and that people like doing it. That being said, there is also erotica, stories about people doing it. Then comes erotic comics. Some people think erotic comics and then immediately think of hentai and shut down. I do believe that there are probably some decent erotic comics out there. I can’t really think of any off the top of my head, but since it’s possible to draw well, and to write well, it must be possible to make a good erotic comic. That being said, these sex-oriented comics are all just terrible.

The first one is Chibi Porn. Chibi is a style of artwork that is kind of like extreme anime. The heads are even bigger, and the bodies are smaller by comparison. Chibi is generally a ‘cute’ style of artwork. However, some fool decided that chibi and sex would go well together, and thus we have this site. I warn you not to go this site if you’re at work, or perhaps in the family room. It’s just plain bad. The tiny little person riding a giant phallus is the kind of thing that young people in 7th grade, awkwardly coming to terms with their sexuality, might find arousing, but after that, people should be stoned to death for making this stuff. If you find this erotic, I have one question: Do stick figures turn you on ‘cause they’re naked?

Next we have , Sex Fiends, which is not only poorly drawn, but is poorly written, and in the first comic features a woman with what seem to be double-jointed ankles blowing away a guy in a pink thong with a very poorly drawn gun. This one isn’t drawn in MSPaint, but it looks like it is.

Cerberos is our next explicit comic. This comic proudly proclaims on the warning page that it contains “violence, yaoi, splatter and gore, vore, other stuff the same direction”. To translate a few of those, yaoi is boy on boy love, and vore is, well, it’s derived from the word carnivore. It’s basically being eaten alive as some kind of sexual turn on. I suppose these people must love snakes. The really sad thing about this comic is that it’s got a lot of stuff going for it on the artistic side. The art is pretty damn good, and the website graphics and layout are very well done. It’s just a pity that the subject matter is bloody and perverted.

Fur. Do I even have to go into why this wrong?

I’m just going to come out and say Stalag ‘99 is bad. I thin there’s some half-assed plot about skunk-wolves and aliens and some crap like that. I’m pretty sure this comic has also got a bunch of yiffy sex in it, but I’m too scared to go deep enough into the archives to find it. This comic actually has the gall to list Star Trek as an influence. What a horrible disservice to Star Trek. There’s also a comic as a memorial to Matthew Shepard, whose name I may be spelling incorrectly, but I’m going with the spelling they used. Matthew’s death was a terrible tragedy. There’s no other way to slice it. But frankly, I really don’t think they’re helping out with this memorial. I think the last thing his family needs is to be linked to this crap. And the comic about after that is a recounting of a car-accident that the author witnessed and his wishing the victim a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, it’s really impossible to take it seriously when the narrator is a fucking wolf-skunk. I’m actually taking my life in my hands when I say that Stalag ‘99 is a piece of shit, ‘cause “STRedWolf”, who ‘writes’ and ‘draws’ it is some sort of head honcho for Keenspace, or something. But I can’t possibly see him or her being petty enough to shut down Hard Underbelly just ‘cause I have a dissenting opinion. But maybe s/he is. Hell, if this is the end of Hard Underbelly, so be it. I’ll just resurrect it on another server.

You know, I started this out with the intention of it being kind of funny, but instead it’s just succeeded in depressing me to a ridiculous extant.

Ending Song: Barcarolle; by Tom Waits

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  posted by Tristan @ 1:23 PM

Wednesday, October 29, 2003  


Mood: Okay
Music: Bee Song; by Battershell

Okay. There's a new comic. The action is beginning.

In theory, the Aurora Borealis is supposed to be pretty good tonight. I saw it on Sunday, which is weird for this latitude, but the biggest solar flare in recorded history was yesterday, so it should be pretty good.

Halloween is Friday, and I'm almost 100% certain that I'm going to do absolutely nothing to celebrate.

I downloaded the Diablo 2 1.10 patch yesterday. I haven't played Diablo 2 in quite some time, but it seems ridiculously slow to me. Like the patch also had some unmentioned new function like, "graphical shafting". The features are pretty cool, but it seems to have gotten inconveniently slow.

I may or may not do another post today, in which I will spotlight some of the worst comics that Keenspace has to offer. It should be amusing, if I do it right.

Ending Music: In The Car; by Barenaked Ladies

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  posted by Tristan @ 10:04 AM


Mood: Okay
Music: Vitos Ordination; by Sufjan Stevens

First things first, follow this link and download those songs. It is the music of Sufjan Stevens. This guy has an amazing 'undiscovered musical genius' thing going for him.

Also, the action is about to pick way up in Hard Underbelly, so be sure to stick with it.

I think I have injured my left thumb. Fortunately I don't seem to use that one much.

Why did Elliot Smith have to commit suicide? And he certainly chose a painful and difficult enough method, too.

It seems that NBC has cancelled Boomtown. Those stupid bastards, it's probably the best show they've had in a while, and they go and cancel it. Morons.

The man that killed his daughter on Vashon Island last week has died. Apparently he took a bunch of pills in an attempt to commit suicide after he killed her, and they finally took their toll.

I've been sick since Friday, and I feel pretty damn crappy.

My Apple Beer addiction continues to be a delicious financial liability. At least I'm not into something that's actively bad for me, like ciggies or meth or Pokemon.

I have yet to see Kill Bill. I really do wish to see it, but I'll probably just wait untill it comes to the island.

FFX-2 comes out on the 19th. I've already got $20 bucks in pre-order money down. Usually I don't pre-order, 'cause it's kind of like rewarding EB for not ordering enough to actually stock the shelves (when I bought Jak 2, they only had, like, 3 copies left, and I was there only two days after it came out) but I was returning a game and I already knew I wanted to get it, so I just put that in-store credit cash directly into the pre-order deposit. I kind of wich I had a PC so I could play FFXI, but I hear they're not making any new servers, so all the Americans are going to play on the Japanese servers, creating a stupid language barrier, and it randomly assigns you to a server as opposed to letting you pick, so it's kind of fucked up. I'll just wait untill World of WarCraft comes out to get my MMORPG on. That game is going to kick ass.

Ending Music: Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor; by Eels

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  posted by Tristan @ 1:49 PM

Tuesday, October 28, 2003  

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